Recipe Review

I Tried the Reddit-Famous Perok Cake and It’s a Warm, Buttery Delight

published Mar 24, 2021
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Credit: Sara Tane

It’s not every day that you hear about a recipe going viral on Reddit — the internet’s most underappreciated platform — so when I heard that a classic Armenian dessert, perok cake, was making the rounds among Redditors, I knew I had to give it a try. Coming in as one of the top 5 most-discussed recipes of 2020 on Reddit, this cake had some serious expectations to live up to. The resurgence of this cake is credited to Redditor Ninette, who spent her early days in quarantine baking old family recipes. Almost instantly, this cake became super popular on /r/Old_Recipes, a subreddit dedicated to recipes from old books, pamphlets, and family recipes.

What Is Perok Cake?

A perok cake is essentially a butter-based cake topped with a layer of jam (typically apricot, though other Redditors have experimented with a variety of flavors) and a lattice top. The ingredients are humble pantry staples that you likely already have — flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, jam, etc. — and making the batter is super simple.

Ninette says that this baked good originates from Armenian diasporas living in Tabriz, Iran, and the recipe she made on Reddit was passed down from her maternal grandmother. I was so intrigued by both the recipe and the backstory that I had no choice but to see what all the hype was about. Here’s how it went.

Credit: Sara Tane

How to Make Perok Cake

This cake recipe is extremely straightforward. To start, you cream together softened butter and sugar, then add eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Once the wet ingredients are combined, you add flour and baking powder. The batter is quite thick, as Ninette notes, and almost resembles cookie dough instead of cake batter. You spread the batter into a greased 9-inch pie pan and reserve “a handful” of batter to make the lattice. 

Next, you top the batter in the pan with about a cup of apricot jam (you can sub other flavors if you prefer). To make the lattice, you need to add enough flour to the reserved cake batter so that it’s firm enough to roll out and slice into strips. Use those strips to create the woven lattice that goes on top. Bake for 50 minutes and you’ve got a warm, buttery, jammy cake.

Get the recipe: Perok Cake

Credit: Sara Tane

My Honest Review of the Reddit-Famous Perok Cake

I will choose cooking over baking any day. The rigid rules of baking are just not for me. I want to be able to eyeball things instead of hunching over a measuring cup stressing about rising times and oven temperatures. What I loved about this particular baking recipe was the forgiveness and flexibility that it offered. Don’t have sour cream? Use Greek yogurt. How much jam do you use? Ehh — about a cup, but whatever looks right to you when you spread it on the batter. How much batter do you need to reserve for the lattice top? Oh, you know, maybe a handful or so. Just enough so you can roll it out and cut some strips. This is my kind of baking recipe. Casual instructions and an extremely forgiving method.

The cake was very easy to make, required basic ingredients, and took me less than 90 minutes from start to finish. The results were a warm, buttery delight. It really does feel like a cross between a cake and a pie, because you have a super rich, cakey bottom that’s topped with a fruity layer and crispy lattice. Finally, a dessert that will satisfy both cake and pie lovers!

This cake also has some serious breakfast potential. A slice of this beauty plus a hot cup of coffee in bed sounds like the perfect start to any morning. But no matter when I serve it, I will 100% make this rich, butter-laden delight again.